The 2016 World Endurance Championship calendar has been announced by the l’Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO). Alongside the existing eight rounds, an additional race will take place in Mexico, to be confirmed as the contract is still being finalised.
The 24 Hours of Le Mans continues to be the cornerstone of the championship, and all eight of the other rounds will be six-hour races. Two further significant points within the calendar are the reduction of the gap between races following the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June, and the return to Latin America of the WEC.
“We believe that the time is right to expand the WEC, and the nine-race calendar for 2016 allows us to continue to build the tradition of 6-hour events in the countries we visit – some of which were not so familiar with endurance racing when we began in 2012,” said Pierre Fillon, president of the ACO. “Each year we return, the Spirit of Le Mans is more and more obvious, with increasing entertainment and sporting action for larger numbers of spectators and TV audiences to enjoy. Of course, the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans is the race that everyone knows about and wants to compete in, but the legend is now being extended to the 6-hour races as well and moving into countries with strong historic links to endurance, such as Mexico City. We are very proud to have maintained the level of stability in the four years of the WEC, and we look forward to seeing you all in 2016.”
“The opportunity offered by Mexico City to take endurance racing back to Latin America was the right one at the right time,” said Gérard Neveu, CEO of the WEC. “In consultation with our partners and competitors, we believe that the countries in which we race have all fully embraced endurance racing and that was one of the considerations for any further rounds. The WEC Promoter will be responsible for the full freight costs for competitors from Europe to Mexico so that there will not be any significant impact on their logistic budgets. Using the stability and consistency already in place with our other rounds, we will continue to ensure that the WEC continues to offer fans access to the most technologically relevant, competitive, and open championship possible. We are looking forward to welcoming Ford back to top level GTE racing in 2016, and we are confident that Aston Martin, Ferrari and Porsche are equally excited about their entry. We have worked with the teams and circuits to reduce the long summer gap following Le Mans, and this new calendar will keep the action going through the summer.”
The full, provisional, 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship calendar is as follows;
25/26 March: The Prologue, Circuit Paul Ricard, France
17 April: 6 Hours of Silverstone, GBR
07 May: WEC 6 Hours of Spa, BEL
05 June: 24 Hours of Le Mans Test Day
18/19 June:24 Hours of Le Mans, FRA
24 July: 6 Hours of Nürburgring, DEU
04 September: 6 Hours of Mexico City, MEX (To Be Confirmed)
17 September: 6 Hours of Circuit of the Americas (Lone Star Le Mans), USA
16 October: 6 Hours of Fuji, JAP
06 November: 6 Hours of Shanghai, PRC
19 November: 6 Hours of Bahrain, UAE